In Asian Equity Markets stocks edged up to three-month highs on Wednesday, helped by a firm finish on Wall Street, while a rebound in the dollar looked vulnerable as some investors grew skeptical about U.S. President Trump’s policies translating into further gains. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.1 percent to its highest levels since late October. The Nikkei gained 1.4 percent to 19,057.50. The broader Topix and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 both added 1.0 percent to 1,521.58 and 13,635.86, respectively. China stocks rose, led by the non-ferrous metals sectors with the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.01 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rising 0.34 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar drifted lower against the yen and euro on Wednesday, as lingering concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance undermined the greenback’s earlier rebound. The U.S. currency was down 0.25 percent at 113.500 yen after briefly nearing 114.00. The euro was a shade higher at $1.0733. The common currency had lost about 0.3 percent overnight, sliding from a near seven-week high of $1.0775. The dollar index gave back a bulk of its overnight gains and was last down 0.2 percent at 100.180. Elsewhere, the pound was up 0.1 percent at $1.2528. The Australian dollar was down 0.4 percent at $0.7548 and the New Zealand dollar fared better to stand little changed at $0.7244.
In Commodities Markets oil edged lower on Wednesday as expectations of an increase in U.S. inventories weighed on the market, offsetting bullish momentum from output cuts announced by OPEC and other producers. Brent crude lost 0.3 percent, to $55.29 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost 0.4 percent, to trade at $52.96 a barrel. Weekly inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude, gasoline and diesel stocks all rose last week. Spot gold prices fell 0.3 percent to $1,204.80 per ounce and silver lost 0.4 percent to $17.01. Platinum fell 0.2 percent to $993.80, after hitting a high of $1,004.50 in prior session, its best since Nov. 10. Palladium inched up 0.2 percent to $787.25.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record highs on Tuesday in a broad rally led by financial and technology stocks. The S&P 500 gained 0.66 percent, to 2,280.07 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.86 percent, to 5,600.96. Automaker shares advanced, with GM up 1.0 percent, Ford up 2.4 percent and Fiat Chrysler rising 5.8 percent. Yahoo rose 3.5 percent after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue and said the sale of its core internet business to Verizon should be completed in the second quarter. Materials jumped 2.5 percent for their best day since March. The sector was bolstered by a 4.5-percent rise in DuPont, which reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Tuesday as investors snapped up equities on improved outlook on corporate profits, trimming their safe-haven demand for bonds spurred by U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade stance. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was up 6 basis points at 2.465 percent. German 10-year Bund and British 10-year Gilt yields were up about 4 basis points.
10:00 GMT+0 EU German Ifo Business Climate
16:30 GMT+0 US Crude Oil Inventories
22:45 GMT+0 NZD CPI q/q
US Equity Earnings
3M (MMM) – Q4 EPS USD 1.88 vs. Exp. USD 1.87 and revenue USD 7.33bln vs. Exp. USD 7.35bln.
Alibaba (BABA) – Q4 EPS USD 1.30 vs. Exp. USD 1.15 and revenue USD 7.67bln vs. Exp. USD 7.48bln.
Corning (GLW) – Q4 core EPS USD 0.50 vs. Exp. USD 0.44 and revenue USD 2.55 vs. Exp. USD 2.50.
Du Pont (DD) – Q4 operating EPS USD 0.51 vs. Exp. USD 0.42 and revenue USD 5.2bln vs. Exp. USD 5.25bln.
Fifth Third (FITB) – Q4 EPS USD 0.48 vs. Exp. USD 0.43 and revenue USD 1.53bln vs. Exp. USD 1.53bln.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – Q4 Adj. EPS Non-GAAP USD 1.58 vs. Exp. USD 1.56 and revenue USD 18.1bln vs. Exp. USD 18.28bln. The Co. state that they are evaluating strategic options for their diabetes care companies. Furthermore, Q4 worldwide Remicade sales USD 1.624bln vs. Prev. (Q3) USD 1.783bln. FY17 EPS forecast at USD 7.11 and revenue forecast at USD 75.10bln.
Kimberly-Clark (KMB) – Q4 Adj. EPS USD 1.45 vs. Exp. USD 1.42 and revenue 4.5bln vs. Exp. USD 4.55bln.
Lockheed Martin (LMT) – Q4 EPS USD 3.25 vs. Exp. USD 3.04 and revenue USD 13.8bln vs. Exp. USD 13.0bln.
Travelers (TRV) – Q4 EPS USD 3.20 vs. Exp. USD 2.89 and revenue USD 7.19 vs. Exp. USD 6.84. Furthermore, Operating Income per diluted share of USD 3.28 and 3.20
Verizon (VZ) – Q4 Adj. EPS USD 0.86 vs. Exp. USD 0.89 and revenue USD 32.34bln vs. Exp. USD 32.36bln.
Yahoo! (YHOO) – Q4 EPS USD 0.25 vs. Exp. USD 0.22 and revenue USD 960.1mln vs. Exp. USD 907.9mln. Co. state that there are opportunities ahead with Verizon (VZ) look bright and see the deal with Verizon (VZ) closing in Q2.
US Equity Upgrades
AGRIUM (AGU) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM MARKET PERFORM AT COWEN
ALLISON TRANSMISSION (ALSN) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM NEUTRAL AT CITI
AMICUS (FOLD) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM NEUTRAL AT BAIRD
CALITHERA BIOSCIENCES (CALA) UPGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM SELL AT CITI
CF INDUSTRIES (CF) UPGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM FROM UNDERPERFORM AT COWEN
COLUMBIA PROPERTY (CXP) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM PERFORM AT OPPENHEIMER
GRUPO TELEVISA (TV) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM NEUTRAL AT BOFA/MERRILL
IMAX CHINA (IMXCF) UPGRADED TO HOLD FROM SELL AT DEUTSCHE BANK
MKS INSTRUMENTS (MKSI) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM NEUTRAL AT DOUGHERTY
MOSAIC (MOS) UPGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM FROM UNDERPERFORM AT COWEN
NORDEA (NRBAY) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM SECTOR PERFORM AT RBC CAPITAL
OMA AIRPORTS (OMAB) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM NEUTRAL AT CITI
POTASH (POT) UPGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM FROM UNDERPERFORM AT COWEN
SILGAN HOLDINGS (SLGN) UPGRADED TO OUTPERFORM FROM MARKET PERFORM AT BMO CAPITAL
TABLEAU (DATA) UPGRADED TO BUY FROM NEUTRAL AT CITI
VOLVO (VOLVY) UPGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM SELL AT GOLDMAN
US Equity Downgrades
ALLIANT ENERGY (LNT) DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM OUTPERFORM AT MACQUARIE
AMN HEALTHCARE (AMN) DOWNGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM FROM OUTPERFORM AT AVONDALE
APPLE (AAPL) DOWNGRADED TO EQUAL WEIGHT FROM OVERWEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
CROSS COUNTRY HEALTHCARE (CCRN) DOWNGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM AT AVONDALE
DINEEQUITY (DIN) DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM BUY AT NOMURA
ENERGOUS (WATT) DOWNGRADED TO PERFORM FROM OUTPERFORM AT OPPENHEIMER
ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST (ESS) DOWNGRADED TO MARKET PERFORM FROM OUTPERFORM AT JMP SECURITIES
HUMANA (HUM) DOWNGRADED TO HOLD FROM BUY AT STIFEL
KB HOME (KBH) DOWNGRADED TO UNDERPERFORM FROM MARKET PERFORM AT RAYMOND JAMES
MICROSTRATEGY (MSTR) DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM BUY AT CITI
NANTKWEST (NK) DOWNGRADED TO HOLD FROM BUY AT JEFFERIES
PERFORMANCE FOOD GROUP (PFGC) DOWNGRADED TO EQUAL WEIGHT FROM OVERWEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
REMY COINTREAU (REMYY) DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM BUY AT GOLDMAN
SCANA (SCG) DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM OUTPERFORM AT MACQUARIE
US Equity Initiations
AGCO (AGCO) INITIATED WITH A BUY AT BERENBERG
DEERE (DE) INITIATED WITH A SELL AT BERENBERG
DOUGLAS DYNAMICS (PLOW) INITIATED WITH A BUY AT CRAIGHALLUM
HEALTHEQUITY (HQY) INITIATED WITH AN OVERWEIGHT AT KEYBANC
HILL-ROM (HRC) INITIATED WITH A BUY AT STIFEL
MATADOR (MTDR) INITIATED WITH AN OUTPERFORM AT RAYMOND JAMES
OPENTEXT (OTEX) REINSTATED WITH AN OVERWEIGHT AT BARCLAYS
TECHNIPFMC (FTI) INITIATED WITH A BUY AT GOLDMAN